What lockout? Ratings, attendance up early for NBA

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Apparently you do not hold a grudge.

It’s early and the schedule was front loaded with some compelling matchups, but so far television ratings and attendance numbers are up around the NBA. Lockout? What lockout?

The Los Angeles Times has the details.

The five Christmas Day openers produced healthy ratings on TNT, ABC and ESPN, as ABC drew 11 million viewers for the Lakers-Chicago Bulls game, its third-largest NBA audience ever. TNT’s average of 5.9 million viewers for the Boston Celtics-New York Knicks game made that the most-viewed NBA Christmas Day game on cable.

In addition, 25 of the first 32 games were sellouts, up from 19 of the first 32 last season. Chris Granger, the NBA’s executive vice president for team marketing and business operations, said fan-friendly initiatives helped teams play to 99.2% of capacity over the first 32 games, up from 90.3% for the full 2010-11 season.

Part of the reasons those games are selling is ticket discounts and other promotions to get people in the door. And the Christmas ratings were up because those were all compelling matchups.

But the NBA seems not to have lost its momentum after the NBA lockout. We’ll see how it builds through the season and into the playoffs, but more than one casual NBA fan has told me “they should start on Christmas every year.” So far, there seems to be no real backlash from the lockout.